Lake San Marcos History

The earliest recorded residents of the Lake San Marcos area were no doubt Indians.  Evidence was found that an Indian camp existed where Panorama homes now stand.  Tents have returned to Lake San Marcos, see Glamping – Lake San Marcos.

As time passed, Lake San Marcos  became part of a Spanish Land Grant, called “Los Vallecitos de San Marcos”  or the “Little Valleys of Saint Mark”.  Cattle and horses became a main businesses on ranches in the area.  After the Mexican-Ajmerican War, a tremendous migration occurred bringing new settlers to the Lake San Marcos valley.

San Marcos Creek meandered through the area and the old Butterfield Stage Line used to ford the creek where Sunrise Point is now built.  San Marcos Creek runs down through La Costa and eventually into Batiquitos Lagoon.   In 1927 the Clemson and Wells families bought the land in the Land in the Lake San Marcos Valley and in 1946, Lake San Marcos dam was built at the South end of the creek, creating a 40 acre lake.  The lake was used primarily for irrigation for the areas cattle ranches.   With the abundance of water, cattle ranching was phased out and replaced by growing tomatoes, hay, flowers, lemons, oranges and avocados.  Avocados can still be seen on the hillsides around Lake San Marcos.

In 1962, Don, Bob, and Gordon Frazar purchased 1648 acres of San Marcos real estate from the Clemson and Wells families.  The Frazar Brothers (Citizen’s Development corporation) reshaped the shoreline, drained the lake,  and increased the size of the lake to 80 acres, its current day size.  The lake is a mile and a third long.  They then made plans to build the lakeside community currently referred to as Lake San Marcos.

In August 1962 the San Diego County Planning Commission approved a tentative Lake San Marcos Homes map. Citizens Development Corporation was the developer with Gordon Frazar serving as President, Don Frazar handling Lake San Marcos home sales, and Bob Frazar in charge of construction. Before coming to Lake San Marcos, the brothers had built about 6,000 homes in Riverside and San Bernardino. A master plan for the Lake San Marcos real estate area was designed by a San Bernadino engineering firm, Campbell and Miller.  Additionally architects Blurock and Ellerbrock of Corona Del Mar had been hired to design the Lake San Marcos community.  The best ideas of both firms were consolidated into a master plan.  Campbell and Miller won a state-wide competition in 1966 honoring the Lake San Marcos homes design as “the best planned community in California”.   Lake San Marcos is the first development in San Diego County to have all utilities, including television, placed underground.  Lake San Marcos was the first lakeside development in California.   In 1967, the National Home Builders Association Convention in Chicago awarded the Lake San Marcos design the title of “Best planned lakeside community in the nation”.

Over the years, the individual blocks of development within the Lake San Marcos real estate area have resulted in over 20 Homeowners Associations and nearly 2500 homes.  The newest of these areas is Varadero Homes, a gated community of single family San Marcos CA homes for sale at the top of Camino del Arroyo.

Quail became the symbol of Lake San Marcos when artist Frank Vecchio, of the advertising firm of Hogan and Vecchio in Riverside, visited the site seeking inspiration for the first brochure.  Hundreds of quail flushed up from the fields, and Vecchio designed three quails, which are now familiar as the symbol of the lovely lakeside community.  When the city of San Marcos incorporated in 1963, Lake San Marcos was located in the unincorporated area of San Diego County.  See Lake San Marcos homes now! 

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